Saturday, March 9, 2013

Velbekomme!

And so the coincidences continue: first Bornholm popping up in the ISS Twitter feed and then my Ecco shoe catalogue; and today it's Noma's turn. A story in today's paper about insect protein is linked to the start of the 24th Wild Foods festival in Hokitika, and references Noma as attempting to make eating bugs more mainstream. Next month there's going to be a wittily-named Pestival in London, and the Noma people will be involved.

Apparently they've already served ants, on purpose: I did once almost eat a wasp in my restaurant lasagne, but that was accidental, and the Noma chef insists that anyone who's eaten mushrooms has also eaten more worms than they could imagine. He gets lyrical about a puree of fermented grasshoppers and moth larvae (tastes like fish sauce, evidently) and a sweet mayonnaise using bee larvae. It doesn't get my taste-buds agitating, but that's just privileged Western prejudice - plenty of peoples around the world have been eating insects for ever.

It wouldn't be the worst thing: I have bitten the bottoms off live green ants in Outback Australia ("six of these a day and you'll never get scurvy") which were tangy and lemony and really rather pleasant. The huhu grubs I ate in Hokitika certainly didn't look inviting, being big, fat, pale and unmistakeably larvae, but tasted of creamy peanut butter; and the deep fried crickets I was served in a Hanoi restaurant were a crunchy novelty that was quite tasty, if somewhat spoiled by the anxiety about getting legs stuck between my teeth. (Shocking photo - I blame the rice wine.)

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